One Facebook Post Helps Over Thirty Families in Need

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m doing what many others are: Making a coffee, and browsing through Facebook.

In sharp contrast to the usual mundane nature of such things, a very special post appeared in my feed… An example of what one person putting the word out can achieve.

Earlier in the week, Reporter Megan Schoultz (NZ Herald) had written about The Auckland City Mission, and it’s challenges in coping with the demand from struggling kiwis, Nathan Elder saw for himself the shocking queues  made by the families in need, as he passed the Hobson St. drop-in centre last Thursday.

Nathan Elder at Pack n Save Albany - Corey Blackburn Photographer

Effected deeply by the scene, and unable to let the feeling go, he decided to try and make a difference for a few of those families: He raised the issue on Facebook, and sought donations and pledges from his friends. He started the initiative, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, with a personal donation of $100: “Because there are a lot of people who need my money a lot more than I do”.

Within just ten hours, he’d managed to collect over $600 in donations and pledges. By Sunday afternoon, a small team (Kyle Donegan, James Hancox, and myself) had formed with Nathan to make the run to the local supermarket.

Kyle Donegan, James Hancox, Nathan Elder - Corey Blackburn Photographer

We were in regular contact with the Mission, as we traversed the isles of Pack n Save Albany, to ensure we purchased exactly what they needed. I must say I was particularly over-whelmed, and humbled, by the helpful staff, and the encouragement from other shoppers for our crusade.

Throughout the days expedition, I was conscious of my own experiences 16 years ago. Queuing for hours outside the Hobson St drop-in centre for a food parcel, with a two year old attached to my hip. Feelings I’d not connected with in years re-surfaced. Once reaching our destination, and meeting the gorgeous humans that volunteer at the centre, i was left emotional, and wishing we could have done more.

Canned food for Auckland City Mission - Corey Blackburn Photographer

Our two car loads of goodies were received with an enthusiasm that made us laugh, and we were treated to a tour of the Mission to get a feeling for “How it all works”. Our welcoming guide Maeve, Become Someones Angel – Auckland City Mission, also revealed where their larger donations often come from (Thank you ASB Bank, and Sovereign Insurance, to name just two), and where second hand goods go to generate much needed revenue.

Just under 30 families were provided for by our collection, with the $600 we received. Incredibly, the good people at the Auckland City Mission will add to that, and increase that number two-fold. We all left feeling we had made a difference, if only to scratch the surface of need in this city.

Auckland City Mission - Corey Blackburn Photographer
Volunteers at Auckland City Mission - Corey Blackburn Photographer

Although many of us find this time of year difficult financially, it is important to remember that this is the season of giving and of good will to man. In need of non-perishable foods, and financial donations to replenish hard won reserves, the Auckland City Mission could use that good will all year round.

We’ve documented the experience, and I’ve written this post, in the hope others will embrace Nathan’s action, and perhaps give it a go themselves. Gather your friends, and invest a little in the well-being of a family and their often vulnerable children… Christmas is for them, and hearing their laughter, sounds of play, and a full bellied afternoon sleep, is the perfect gift for any parent.

Nathan Elder with Donations - Corey Blackburn Photographer

If you’re going on a grocery run yourself, it’s good to keep a few guide lines in mind: Keep it nutritious, non-perishable, and meal conscious. There was no disagreement however, from any of us, on the boxes of Candy Canes… For what would Christmas be without them!

We hope my images, and the video below, might help spread the word, and show how easy and rewarding this all was for us.

Here’s a link, to “Become Someone’s Angel“, where you can make a donation directly to the Auckland City Mission!

One Facebook Post Helps
Over Thirty Families in Need